First vampire Westerns, and now a Native American Zombie flick? It’s clearly a great week to bring some variety to My Guilty Pleasure!
Blood Quantum is a Shudder original, but I picked up the movie as a Redbox rental. It tells an undead tale from a Native American perspective. Focusing on the Red Crow Indian Reservation in 1981, the story slowly unspools as gutted fish begin to reawaken, flopping around as if alive and a previously shot dog returns to life. If I had witnessed any of the previously mentioned creatures coming back to life, I would have quickly realized something wasn’t right, immediately getting my stashed goods well stocked.
The people of the community begin to experience lots of animal bites and their local hospital runs out of tetanus shots. That’s not a good sign. After some random attacks, the story flashes forward six months later, as the Zombie Apocalypse has already decimated every city on the planet except for this one area, which remains humanity’s last stand. Anything coming from the nearby river isn’t safe to eat (Could it be the cause of it all?) and Z Day means it’s the end of the world for everyone except the people of a local tribe, who can seemingly withstand the outbreak. But can they work together to actually live in harmony among themselves?
“Ain’t nobody immune here but us.”
I was truly shocked I hadn’t heard about the film until this week. Released last year, its slow-burn introduction could have been tightened to move the story toward a faster pace, but I did get very interested once a few details were given and things were moving along, six months later. At one point, an elder mentions that the Earth is a living, breathing animal, absolutely sick of humanity’s poor treatment of her. I soon realized that this was actually a revenge fantasy for Mother Nature. And a Zombie flick, to boot! I don’t think I’ve ever seen that on-screen combination before.
Other than the old police car which our hero drives, there’s not many dated references or technology presented, but there is an 8-track player midway through that grabs the attention of the bloodthirsty. It seems like the storyline could have taken place today, but I’m always a fan of tales told in my favorite decade: The ’80s!
The outbreak’s origin is an unsolved mystery and Patient Zero is never shown, which troubled me, as more story details can make a greater impact on the climax of the story. Alas, those never arrived. The special effects are good and my thoughts about characters having babies during the Zombie Apocalypse will never waver, especially after watching this one. But I did enjoy watching this.
In terms of characters, our hero father wasn’t perfect, but he was easy to root for. The grandpa was a bad-ass killing machine, using a katana just as able as Michonne. But I do wonder what would happen if a sequel was actually made. At its conclusion, Blood Quantum features only two survivors floating in a boat. Is this humanity’s last stand? Will they actually repopulate the entire planet? And how similar would the story be for a possible sequel?
These are just a couple of thoughts that popped into my head after watching Blood Quantum. I recommend watching it for yourself, whether through Shudder’s streaming service or via a Redbox rental. One way or the other, you will get your Halloween horror fix.